Drug Resistant Stomach Bug Is Spreading In The US
A multidrug-resistant intestinal illness is starting to spread across the country and Massachusetts is seeing some of the highest numbers of cases.
According to the CDC, the intestinal virus is being brought into the country by international travelers, but it is being spread to those who haven't gone anywhere as well.
Shigella sonnei bacteria has proven to be resistant to several antibiotics and has recently been infecting people across the country in several outbreaks, including one in Massachusetts.
In fact 90 percent of the cases in America have come from Mass., Pennsylvania and California. And health professionals say groups like children in childcare facilities, homeless people and gay and bisexual men are being hit the worst.
CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. says
Drug-resistant infections are harder to treat and because Shigella spreads so easily between people, the potential for more – and larger – outbreaks is a real concern."
He also adds that the CDC is
moving quickly to implement a national strategy to curb antibiotic resistance."
Symptoms of Shigella are watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and malaise. And because of the anitbiotic resistance, most sufferers simply have to stay home until they get better.
So what can you do to prevent Shigella?
If you are traveling overseas, experts say to choose only hot foods and drink only from sealed containers.
And if you are around those that have traveled and think you may be exposed to Shigella, the CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water, keeping children home from childcare and other group activities while they are sick with diarrhea, avoid preparing food for others while ill with diarrhea and avoid swimming for a few weeks after recovering.